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The Judicial Power

Petitioners Metro-Act of Rochester, Inc., and eight individual plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and all persons similarly situated, filed this action on January 24, 1972. . . . The complaint identified Metro-Act as a not-for-profit New York corporation, the purposes of which are ‘to alert ordinary citizens to problems of social concern; . . . to inquire into the reasons for the critical housing shortage for low and moderate income persons in the Rochester area and to urge action on the part of citizens to alleviate the general housing shortage for low and moderate income persons.’ Plaintiffs Vinkey, Reichert, Warth, and Harris were described as residents of the city of Rochester, all of whom owned real property in and paid property taxes to that city. Plaintiff Ortiz, ‘a citizen of Spanish/Puerto Rican extraction,’ also owned real property in and paid taxes to Rochester. Ortiz, however, resided in Wayland, N.Y., some 42 miles from Penfield where he was employed. The complaint described plaintiffs Broadnax, Reyes, and Sinkler as residents of Rochester and ‘persons fitting within the classification of low and moderate income as hereinafter defined. . . .’ Ibid. Although the complaint does not expressly so state, the record shows that Broadnax, Reyes, and Sinkler are members of ethnic or racial minority groups: Reyes is of Puerto Rican ancestry; Broadnax and Sinkler are Negroes. . . .

Petitioners’ complaint alleged that Penfield’s zoning ordinance, adopted in 1962, has the purpose and effect of excluding person of low and moderate income from residing in the town. In particular, the ordinance allocates 98% of the town’s vacant land to single-family detached housing, and allegedly by imposing unreasonable requirements relating to lot size, setback, floor area, and habitable space, the ordinance increases the cost of single-family detached housing beyond the means of persons of low and moderate income. . . .

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